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Sameh Seif Ghaly

Sameh Seif has 27 years of experience in community mobilization and sustainable development. He has extensive experience in the field of community development through significant positions at CEOSS, Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, and the National Council of Women. Sameh is from El Minia, and is the pioneer of low-cost sewage systems installed across Upper Egypt Based on community participation and designed a sustainable community management system for service projects based on community management in all activity. He is an Ashoka Fellow, Synergos Fellow, Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the year (2010), Founder of Together Association for Development and Environment, and partner in Social Impact and Entrepreneurship Consultants (SIEC).

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Together Association for Development and Environment
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Hybrid Social Enterprise
Social Innovation; Sustainable Development; Workforce and Employment
Areas of Impact
Middle East & North Africa, Egypt

Together Association for Development and Environment

The Together Association designs and installs low-cost community sewage and water treatment systems, providing potable water in homes and water for irrigation. The village-wide sewage system connects household septic tanks by gravity-fed pipes to a communal filtering facility, where appointed and trained community technicians oversee maintenance and quality control. The Together Association sewage system model is built and maintained with locally available materials and labour, making it 70-75% cheaper than government-issued systems.

The association actively involves the communities in the initial planning stages and turns over maintenance to locally based organizations, which conduct the necessary maintenance and upkeep. While traditional sewage systems often require a $10 per month fee from each family, this model requires only a $2 per month fee.

A crucial part of the community ownership and accountability process is the provision of low-interest loans, which enable families to pay the up-front connection fee of $350 to join the sewage grid (including piping, construction, sinks, toilets, etc.). Villagers, in conjunction with association staff, do all of the initial construction work. After the installation process, the Together Association continues its work of strengthening local organizations to facilitate the loan repayment and monthly fee collection process.

To date four villages in Upper Egypt have been connected to the Together Association sewage systems, with a total of 37,000 direct beneficiaries who now receive proper in-home sanitation services and who have saved average of $96 per year. Villages have reported dramatic reductions in disease infection rates, especially among children. Together with the EFG Hermes Foundation, a key partner, and Vodafone, the World Bank and others, the Together Association also provides diverse value-added community development programmes in villages it serves, including employment and handicrafts training.


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